SCARS Rescue Stories

The animals of SCARS have many stories to tell. Here are just a few of them.

Before proceeding please understand that some of these stories may be disturbing to some readers. Although some do not have a happy ending, many of these animals are now in loving forever-homes.


Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) is dedicated to reducing the number of homeless animals in Northern Alberta, Canada

We believe that there is a suitable home for all homeless animals: young or old; large or small.

As a volunteer-run, non-profit society, we care for these animals by providing veterinary care and foster homes for animals in need until a permanent home is found. These private foster homes provide the animals with warm shelter, food, exercise, and tender loving care (something that so many of the animals we receive have never experienced).

SCARS does not practice selective intake procedures and operates in a triage manner: taking the animal in most medical need first. As a result our medical expenses are enormous. Please consider donating to our rescue efforts.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cindy's Story

Cindy came to SCARS in July 2007. A SCARS volunteer was driving through a northern reserve when she noticed a dog in the ditch. She stopped to see if the dog was all right and the little dog ran into a culvert, too scared to come out. With the enticement of food, the volunteer eventually coaxed the little dog out.

What she saw was horrifying!

The dog, later named Cindy, had a bungee cord tied so tightly around her head and under her chin that parts of it were resting on bone. It had been there for so long that skin was starting to grow over the cord! Cindy’s face, so full of infection, was swollen and deformed.

Once the cord was removed, Cindy required ongoing medical treatments for neural eye damage due to the pressure of the cord. Her face swelling started to go down and she became an energetic and happy dog. And them Cindy surprised us once more: Cindy was pregnant!

SCARS didn’t know what the outcome would be for Cindy’s babies. With so much infection ravaging her body, what would happen to the babies? But, all of our fears were in vain: Cindy gave birth to five healthy puppies!

She now is, and looks like, a normal healthy dog. Cindy was adopted by a loving mom and dad, and two four-legged brothers (Bob and Patch). She lives on an acreage where she has all the space in the world to run and explore and finally be the puppy she never really got to be. All five of her puppies have gone to loving families. One of the puppies stayed with the family that did such an awesome job fostering Cindy and her babies.

Wallace's Story

When Wallace arrived at SCARS, he was a mere 55 pounds! He was emaciated, had many broken teeth, and had a blind and sunken eye. He was also suffering from a severe skin condition and was missing most of the fur from his back end and tail. In addition to all the injuries we could see, we also found out through x-rays that he was riddled with gunshot pellets.

When Wallace came to SCARS he was in such physical distress that when our vet in Edmonton first saw him, she just sank to the floor and cried.

Wallace, knowing that he was now safe, became terrified of being left alone. He developed severe separation anxiety and for six months his foster mom, quite literally, never left his side. Wallace also needed a special diet of raw foods. A realtor who heard about Wallace’s plight, kindly donated all of Wallace’s food.

Over time, Wallace gained some weight and became healthy enough to undergo surgery to have his sunken eye removed.

Today, Wallace weighs 80 lbs and a bushy tail. You can no longer see or feel his ribs. He has been adopted by a wonderful family that loves him for the sweet boy that he is. It is guessed that Wallace is around five years old, but his life is really just beginning. He has a tremendous spirit and will to live. He deserves everything the world has to offer him. And it is only by the generous donations of our supporters that we were able to provide Wallace with the months of medical treatment he required.

Wallace certainly must have endured hardships beyond our comprehension! He has lived a life of terror, pain and hardship, yet he is the gentlest of souls. Given the chance, he loves to rest his head ever so tenderly in your lap.

Wallace has been adopted.

Faith, Kasper and Molly's Story

Faith and her sisters Kasper and Molly came to SCARS from a pound. Second Chance Animal Rescue Society often takes in dogs from the pound when their “time is up” and they are slated for euthanasia. Within the cities, many of these dogs are held for a week and then, if deemed adoptable, brought to the Humane Society or to rescue groups. Dogs found in northern Alberta communities, where often there are not any veterinary clinics or facilities to house them, are held for only three days and, instead of being given an injection to euthanize, they are shot. Sadly, in the northern communities, where many people do not spay or neuter their animals, this happens far too regularly. Luckily for many dogs, the Animal Control Officers make huge efforts to spare as many lives as they can by driving great distances to bring the dogs to us instead. With our help and the help of the Animal Control personnel the dogs are given a second chance.
Of course, due to the lack of veterinary care, many of the dogs that we receive have some medical issues. When Faith, Kasper and Molly arrived, we quickly realized these tiny puppies were in distress. Molly showed signs of illness immediately. She was brought to Athabasca Veterinary Services and diagnosed with Parvo. Next Kasper and Faith fell ill with this highly contagious virus. Although their foster mom and the wonderful vets in Athabasca did everything that they could, both Kasper and Molly succumbed to the virus. They died within days of each other. Luckily Faith fought hard and beat the virus and she is happy and healthy today. A loving family soon adopted Faith and she continues to flourish in her new home.

Faith has been adopted. Kasper and Molly are gone, but not forgotten.

Benji's Story

Benji arrived at Second Chance Animal Rescue after living as a stray. He was severely matted and covered in dog bites and other war wounds. Once groomed, we realized the true extent of the damage suffered: he had abrasions and rashes all over his little 5-pound body.

Sadly, soon after his intake, Benji quickly fell very ill. He became lethargic and would not eat or drink. The vets realized this little dog was in extreme distress and recommend he be put into an incubator, given an IV and kept on 24-hour watch.

Throughout the next few days, Benji's health continued to decline and we started to worry he would not recover. After frequent consultations with Benji’s vet, we decided to perform a plasma transfusion, an expensive procedure but one that could increase his chance of survival.

And it did!

Within days, Benji was able to lift his head and focus his eyes. SCARS was thrilled when one morning, a very excited veterinary technician called Benji’s foster family to inform them he had just eaten his first bite of food in 12 days!

Benji’s story is truly one of survival. He defied all odds! He survived as a stray, even though sadly most small dogs do not, and he survived though an illness even though his heart rate, blood pressure, body weight and body temperature were far too low.

It was because of the perseverance and loving support of Dr. Daryl Meger, Dr. Suzanne Misiaszek and the team at The Whitemud Creek Veterinary Clinic that little Benji is still with us today. Special thanks to Benji's foster mom who not only rode every emotional roller-coaster right by his side, but also provided little Benji with something to care and live for during this traumatic time.

Benji is adopted.

Wink, Baby and Bell’s Story

Wink, Baby and Bell’s story is tragic. Their mother, another poor soul who had been abandoned, had been mistaken for a coyote and, subsequently, was shot and killed. A farmer, realizing that these pups could not survive by themselves brought them to Second Chance Animal Rescue. Right away we realized that these puppies were in serious distress: one could not use its back end and another had a constant twitch in its face. We immediately took them to the local vet, where it became clear they were suffering from the effects of distemper.

Distemper is a highly contagious, incurable and usually fatal viral disease that attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous system. Sadly, for these pups the damage was already permanent and there was nothing further we could do except to stop their suffering. The difficult decision was made to put them down. We gave them a name and a place in our hearts.

An inexpensive vaccine could have easily prevented the damage these poor pups had already suffered in their short lives. A puppy should receive its first vaccination at 6-8 weeks old depending on its health, followed by boosters. Until it has received its complete series of vaccinations, please use caution when taking your pet to places such as pet stores and dog parks. To protect adult dogs, please ensure your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date. Ask your veterinarian about a recommended vaccination program for your dog.

Wink, Baby and Bell are gone but not forgotten.

Spunky and Kya's Story

It was a miscommunication that brought Spunky and Kya to Second Chance Animal Rescue Society.

SCARS was full! We did not have the resources or space to take in any more dogs. Sadly, we were forced to let everyone know we could not take any more animals until some of the dogs currently in care had been adopted. Luckily for Kya and Spunky this message was not relayed to the the Bylaw Officer who loaded them into the truck, drove for many hours and brought them to SCARS.

Kya and Spunky came from an area in Alberta that has limited resources for stray animals. If a dog is picked up by the Bylaw Officer and not claimed by its owners after 3-days, it is shot. SCARS gets many dogs from this area. Of course, once Kya and Spunky arrived, we could not send them back to the pound: it would mean certain death.

Both Kya and Spunky were in appalling condition when they arrived. Spunky had Demodex, a type of mange that covered her whole chest and parts of her leg. She had obviously had the condition for a long time as her skin was raw with infection and the smell was horrific! Kya was missing her back leg; only a stump remained. When the vet saw what was left of her leg, we were told that Kya had most likely suffered through a home amputation. It appeared that her leg had been severed with an axe. Both dogs received extensive medical care. Kya’s leg was re-amputated and Spunky's Demodex was treated.

We are happy to say that Spunky and Kya both found new forever homes quickly and that they are both flourishing in this new loving environment. Kya also became a local celebrity when her story was told in an Edmonton Journal article written by Nick Lees. It is hard to think these wonderful dogs, who had suffered so dreadfully, were slated to be killed. They are with us today simply because of miscommunication and the compassion of a Bylaw Officer.

Our society does not currently receive funding; therefore, we rely solely on money that is raised through memberships, donations, sponsorships and other fundraising efforts. Because we have no paid staff and use private homes for fostering, we can only take in as many animals as our resources will allow. Please consider making one of our friends a new member of your family!

Spunky and Kya have been adopted

Update:Kya has once again amazed everyone at Second Chance Animal Rescue Society. Throughout all of Kya's traumatic events, Kya was pregnant! We are very happy to announce that on April 26, 2006 Kya gave birth to healthy puppies; all of them 4-leggers!

Lady's Story

Lady was found on a cold winter day tied to a generator at an abandoned farm. A potential renter came along and found what she thought was a deceased dog. As she approached, Lady lifted her head just barely as if to say "thank goodness you found me." As a Great Pyrenees cross, she should have weighed closed to 90 pounds, but she tipped the scale at just 40 pounds. After weeks of intensive rehabilitation, she was adopted and is now loving her forever family.

Lady has been adopted.

Rufus' Story

It was a Saturday night when a lady called very concerned about a dog that was left tied to a fence. The concern was the dog had been shot in the face a month prior, had never received medical attention, and it seemed no one had any intention of treating him. At this point we were unsure of the dog's condition. On Sunday morning, we made the two-hour drive to collect Rufus. At first glance he appeared to be fine, happy and friendly. He was a large Bouvier cross of about nine months old. The owners agreed to surrender him to us. Did Rufus know where he was going? We don’t know, but he jumped right into the truck and rode quietly the entire way home. I had to leave my windows open because the smell of his infected mouth was too much to handle. He was taken to the vet and they cleaned out the shattered teeth and fragments embedded in his mouth. After an x-ray, it was discovered he had a broken jaw that required the expertise of a specialist in Edmonton. Rufus has been an absolute angel through it all, a true gentle giant. After undergoing a surgery for his jaw, he went home with his new forever family to be treated like the prince he is! We wish them and Rufus all the best!

Rufus has been adopted.

Tiny's Story

Just when you think you have seen all that you can stand to see for a week, Tiny comes in.

Tiny could fit in the palm of your hand and loved to cuddle. Tiny’s one front paw was severed and both her back legs were badly damaged. We were unsure if this was a birth defect or if something had been tied around her legs. She had no bone left in her paws and she would never be able to have a quality of life. We hoped that it could be “fixed” but sadly not in this case. We had to make the hard decision to do what was best for Tiny and put her down. Situations such as Tiny’s never get easier, but how could you look at those big eyes and leave her to fend for herself.

Tiny is gone but, not forgotten.

Alberta's Story

Alberta came to us from a pound because her time was up. We were horrified to see what this small girl had endured for an unknown period of time. When we first met her she was depressed, very thin and covered in her own feces. When we took a closer look we noticed she had a very large tumor, which was later determined to be a mammary tumor. It was obvious she had never been treated. She was immediately brought to the vet where it was discovered it had spread to her liver and lungs. Vets also suggested she may have only lived another 2-3 weeks on her own. X-rays also revealed she had a 22 bullet lodged in her body and most of her teeth were broken off. We are very sad to say Alberta was put to sleep because the cancer had already spread throughout her tiny body and there was nothing we could do for her.
It is very discouraging and sad to rescue these helpless animals and then find out there is nothing that can be done to save them. Though she was with us for such a short time and her story is one of sadness, we hope that sharing Alberta's tragic story will inspire people like you to support SCARS. We want to continue to help dogs, such as Alberta, to receive treatment and care even when all we can do is help end their suffering. We believe that is the least society can do for an animal whose life may have only been one of hardship and suffering.

Alberta is gone, but not forgotten.

Rookie's Story

Rookie was with us for such a short time, but touched our heart's deeply.

While out rescuing another dog, Rookie wandered up looking for our help. Rookie was covered in his own urine and feces. He was also unable to walk on his back leg. Rookie readily agreed to being lifted into the vehicle and brought to his new foster home. After a huge meal and a cozy night, he was brought to the vet for what we thought would be a routine leg casting. X-rays revealed much more than just a sore leg! Rookie's spinal column had been severed and the nerves controlling his bodily functions destroyed. Maggots had already started to eat away at his back end. There was nothing the vets could do for sweet Rookie and we had to put him down. If he had received medical attention sooner he may have been saved. Sadly, no one took responsibility for this sweet boy.

Rookie is gone, but not forgotten.

Normus' Story

We had received a call about a injured Rotti puppy that was bleeding from the mouth and could not get up. When we arrived Normus was no puppy. We took him straight to the vet and it was discovered he had been shot in the face by a rifle. His jaw was fractured, which would explain why the poor guy was starving. The inside of his mouth was a mess and the bullet was lodged in his tongue. Well several weeks later and after a good dose of antibiotics and pain killers, Normus had fully recovered. He is now happy and loves to play though his play is kind of intimidating since he is so large! He loves going for car rides and makes funny snorting noises when he is happy. Normus has been adopted and is doing very well.

Normus has been adopted.

Tuff and Glory's Story

Tuff and Glory, two puppies of a litter of five, had a horrific first four weeks of life. Their tails were docked as newborns and they were left under a trailer when their owners moved away. Three of their sibblings died of starvation after falling down an open pipe that was under the trailer. The real tragedy is the pipe was so shallow that if anyone had noticed or cared they could have easily been pulled to safety. These two are the lucky ones. Tuff was pulled out of the pipe with little time to spare and it is a miracle Glory managed not to fall in. We were called only after the smell of the dead puppies became too much for the new residents to bare. We are still trying to locate the mother so she can have her second chance.

Tuff and Glory have been adopted.

Charlie's Story

Charlie came to us when we received a call from the local vet clinic. His owners failed to contain him properly in their yard and, as a result, he had been caught many times by the local Bylaw Officer. Each time he was caught he seemed glad for the attention and was returned home, happy and healthy. But this time he was not so lucky. Charlie was hit by a car and he suffered considerable damage to his front leg. The only option was amputation. His owners decided to surrender him to the vet.

Charlie may only have three legs, but this does not bother him one bit! He still hops around excitedly and we are sure that he is probably thinking, "who cares I still have one more than you!"

This was a totally preventable tragedy. Please be responsible pet owners.

Charlie has been adopted.

Nova's Story

Nova came from a reserve were she frequented the convenience store for scraps. The store owners felt she was in dire need of help. When we picked her up, she was nothing but skin and bones. You could see every curve in her spine, hips and ribs. She was frail but very co-operative. When we put her in the car, she seemed almost relieved. Never did she growl or bark. She was extremely gentle and loving. The truly sad part of Nova's story is that it was obvious she had recently had puppies. The vet seemed to think the puppies were weaned already but we will never know their fate. Nova would have most certainly died of starvation if she had been left by herself any longer.

Nova has been adopted.

Peg's Story

Peg was discovered on the side of the highway on a hot summer day in July by a kind stranger. This little sweetie was moments away from being badly injured or even killed. She was brought to us covered head to toe in large tangled mats that were obviously causing her a lot of discomfort. She cooperated like an angel even though she had to be shaved right down to the skin. One mat was so large it at first was mistaken for her back leg! It was obvious that little Peg had pups somewhere that she was missing terribly. The first few days she looked everywhere for them. She had recently received a poorly done c-section (possibly even performed by her previous owners), and had a badly deformed foot. It became obvious that someone had taken her babies and thrown her out like the trash. After a lot of TLC and naps on her foster parent's bed, she made a full recovery. She was adopted out to a wonderful family (thanks Sue!) and now lives the life she deserves.

Peg has been adopted.

Crispin's Story

Crispin appears to be a purebred Landseer Newfoundland. She is a young dog with great courage. SCARS received a call on a Saturday night from a woman who was on her way home and saw a large black and white dog lying in a ditch. She pulled over and discovered Crispin, literally covered with quills. She tried to get Crispin into her car, but because she was scared, Crispin ran up the ditch and hid in the nearby trees. The kind stranger waited with Crispin's giant head on her lap for over 45 minutes until we could get there. It was a very cold and dark night, and the wind made it worse. We tried to work quickly, but because she was in so much pain and scared, she was very reluctant to cooperate. Finally, Crispin gave up and allowed us to put her in our kennel. Once at the vets, we opened her mouth and discovered the roof of her mouth and the bottom of her tongue were pure white from many more quills. The vet worked on her for over an hour to remove the quills from her mouth, face and body. It was very obvious that she had the quills for a long time, as she was suffering from starvation and infection.

Crispin has been adopted. See Crispin's Look At Us Now Story

Hope, Sampson, Elsie and Peanut's Story

Early in January, we received a call from a concerned individual about three dogs tied with nothing but a heavy chain around their necks and another dog that had been locked in a building. When we arrived, it was nothing less then horrifying. There were three dogs chained with no food, no water and no shelter from the blustery –35°C weather. Melted ice patches where indications of where they had been sleeping.

Elsie, a small, cold, frightened little girl was the first to be rescued. Elsie was chained to a tire in the middle of nowhere without even the shelter of trees or buildings. Despite being very scared, she was very cooperative of our efforts to help her. When we brought Elsie into the warm vehicle, she curled up into a ball during the entire drive to her foster home.

Hope was next, an older looking Collie. She has a very haggard appearance. Her coat was dull, matted and tangled. She also appeared to be blind as her eye was very swollen and sore. It was evident that Hope had spent a very long period of time locked in one of the buildings with no heat or water. We based this assumption on the amount of feces that covered the floor and the number of scratch marks on the door.

Sampson, a beautiful large white Shepherd cross was next. Sampson was chained, same as the others, without even a cardboard box for shelter. His chain was very tangled and heavy, making it difficult for him to maneuver. He was extremely thin, but loving and very appreciative of our help. Sampson was eager to put his days of starvation and cold behind him.

Peanut, the smallest of the four, was terrified of us and had to be muzzled to contain her. She had been tied to a tree, just out of reach of a deck that could have sheltered her from the extreme cold.

Because of the obvious neglect and the lack of evidence that anyone had been caring for these dogs, we suspected and later confirmed that the owners had moved and left the dogs behind.


Hope recently had surgery to remove her left eye. She has Glaucoma and the swelling and pain was unbearable. Since the surgery, she no longer pees her bed but she is still terrified of being indoors. Her fear is most likely the result of being locked in a building for a long period of time. Hope loves going for car rides and loves being with people. She is also a little hard of hearing. It is wonderful that she can now run and play and is no longer depressed and in constant pain. Sadly, Hope has to be on medication for the rest of her life to protect the health of her remaining eye. Elsie is thriving. Once she was given the opportunity to open up, she has become a wonderful little dog. She is very friendly and playful.

Peanut has made a complete turn around. During the first two weeks she was here, Peanut had absolutely no trust. Today she goes for long walks with her foster mom and other dogs. She is extremely loyal and lovable, listens very well, and gets along with other dogs. Peanut is still very scared of strangers, but has proved she can learn to trust again.

Sadly, the young beautiful Sampson died six days after he was rescued. Despite our best efforts, there was nothing that we could do for him. Sampson had an amazing spirit and will never be forgotten.

A final thought…

Currently there are no effective ways of preventing this situation from happening again and again. In most counties and municipalities, there are no municipal by-laws that address animal cruelty and the Cruelty to Animals Section of the Criminal Code is outdated and ineffective (incepted in 1892). Please take the time to express your concern to your local municipal representative and take a moment to visit the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies website at to read about the proposed changes to legislation. The only way that things will change is if people take the time to speak out and find a solution.

Hope, Elsie and Peanut have been adopted.

Samson is gone, but not forgotten.

Faith's Story

On November 30th , we received a call from a caring individual about a dog that had been lying at the side of the road. The individual had observed the dog lying in the same spot, both morning and night, for days.

Concerned that the dog may have been injured, we immediately checked into it. We found the dog exactly where she had been reported. She was not injured; however, what we discovered was much more tragic.

The dog was found lying by a puppy who had perished (probably days earlier) either from the blustery cold of the winter or from the unforgiving traffic of the roadway. It was evident that this dog had been lying there for such a long time protecting her young pup that the snow and ice had melted around her. When we approached, she stood up and came to us with distress in her eyes – seemingly asking us for help. Sadly, it was too late for her puppy.

We named her “Faith” because of the dedication she showed in such a tragic situation. She was very hungry and had obviously not eaten for days, probably because she had chosen not to give up and refused to leave her little one alone in the cold.

Faith has been adopted.

Crimson's Story

“Crimson” was a four-month-old shepherd cross who came to us on a Thursday from the Lac La Biche area. He was found abandoned, along with his sister Cali and his brother Cleave.

On the day they came to us, we fed them and they ate like they had never eaten before. They were playful and energetic. On Friday morning we noticed that Crimson was not hungry, which was unusual for a starving puppy, so we watched him carefully. On Saturday morning, Crimson still had no appetite and we became very concerned. We immediately took him to the veterinarian. Hours later Crimson started to go into seizures. It was discovered that Crimson had Distemper and had to be put down to end his suffering.

We were very sad and disturbed that Crimson was so tragically taken. We are comforted only by the fact that he had someone to care for him during his last days and that he didn’t have to suffer in the lonely ditch where he was found.

Distemper is a horrible disease, especially for puppies, and is almost always fatal. There is no treatment or cure. The true tragedy of this story is that this all could have been avoided if someone had only cared enough to have these puppies vaccinated. By the time Crimson was brought into our care, it was already too late. We are currently watching Cali and Cleave and we can only hope and pray that the disease did not spread.

Crimson is gone, but not forgotten.

Sandy's Story

"Sandy” was very timid when she arrived at the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society, and with good reason. She was so thin from starvation that her ribs and hip bones were very evident. Open sores caused by fleas and lice covered her tiny body. Upon examination by a veterinarian, it was discovered she also had a serious uterus infection and three pieces of buck shot embedded in her skin.

In spite of the obvious abuse and neglect that Sandy had been forced to endure, she still managed to feed her eight puppies. The puppies were also severely malnourished and covered with fleas and lice. After some extra tender loving care, Sandy and her puppies recovered and were adopted by families of their own. They no longer need to worry about their next meal or someone using them for target practice.

Sandy has been adopted.

Emma's Story

“Emma” was found curled up in a ball in the middle of the road on a very cold, blustery winter day. She was freezing and starving to death. Emma’s ears and part of her tail were frostbitten so severely that they required amputation. She also had puncture wounds on her back, a bad eye infection and ear mites. After a few weeks of medical treatment and a warm bed, she recovered from her injuries and became a permanent member of her foster family’s home.

Emma has been adopted.

Mattie's Story

“Mattie” came to the Second Chance Animal Rescue Society as a thin, frail, broken soul. She is an older dog, and shows clear signs of living a hard life. She’s likely had numerous litters of puppies and, judging by the deep indented scar on her head, it is certain that she has suffered from unimaginable trauma. A kind stranger took an interest in Mattie when it was apparent that no one was feeding or caring for her. The stranger started to leave food for the emaciated dog and checked on her as often as possible. Mattie, however, was very scared and did not allow the stranger to come close enough to help her.

Then one day Mattie disappeared and after not seeing her for several days, the stranger became very concerned. As it turned out, Mattie was caught by animal control when she was found lying in a parking lot, very dehydrated, full of porcupine quills and unable to walk. Thankfully, she was taken to the vet and received the medical attention that she needed.

It is very heartbreaking to think that without the help of strangers, Mattie may not have survived, or worse, she may have continued to live the tragic life of a dog that no one could be bothered with. Mattie was only been with us a very short time but is making amazing progress. She shows appreciation for every ounce of love and attention that she receives, but seems to not yet understand our affection. Hopefully one day we will get her to realize that she is truly worthy and deserving of a better life with a warm home and a loving family of her own.

Mattie has been adopted.